I figure things out by fucking them up, so I’m always actively learning from my mistakes…
I didn’t thoroughly plan out this venture and I had never done anything like this before.
Not Your Average Life Coach was always going to have oversights and wrong turns.
But I embraced the challenge and learned from it as best I could.
If I were to become a life coach a second time around, these are the main things I would do differently…
… with my Self-Coaching
I would be more open about my self-coaching
Being able to share your self-coaching successes and failures with your clients is a monumentally integral for empathetically connecting with your client’s point of view and serves as a means of motivating your client towards their own successes.
It’s not that I am opposed to sharing my self-coaching exploits with my clients; in fact, I shared them quite routinely when I was in-session with clients, it’s just that I never developed a consistent habit of sharing my self-coaching exploits more broadly via blogging or vlogging.
The blog link on NotYourAverageLife.Coach heads over to the blog on my personal overview website, PeteBeCreative.com, is because I always intended for it to be my only blog.
On the PeteBeCreative.com blog I had planned to explore all manner of topics, including my self-coaching.
My blog does not have much content on it because I just never made the time to prioritize producing content for it.
While developing Not Your Average Life Coach, I was always very aware of brand awareness and reaching new clients.
One of the reasons I built NotYourAverageLife.Coach is so that I would have an online channel to connect with new clients.
A huge part of my thinking behind that online outreach was all the content – online ads, blog posts, YouTube videos – propagated to direct new clients to my coaching service.
One of the easiest ways to put lots of Not Your Average Life Coach related content out there would be to write lots and lots of blog posts about my coaching, my self-coaching and my coaching tips.
But I never got into the habit of doing it, so there just isn’t a lot of additional online content to support Not Your Average Life Coach.
… when Coaching Others
I would get my clients to sign a contract
Admittedly, this was always on my To-Do list for Not Your Average Life Coach, I just never got round to putting together a full-fledged contract.
There are three reasons for using a contract between coach and client…
- It offers legal protection for myself and my clients
- It serves as written record of the transactional relationship established between the client and me
- It provides written clarity of what I expect from my clients and what they can expect from me as their life coach
With any product or service, having terms of sale established in writing, between seller and buyer, is just a smart thing to do and I wouldn’t leave this one on my To-Do list a second time around!
I would be more selective about who I coached
Once I had established who were my target market – females aged between 25 and 40 who were looking to augment, improve or change their careers – I stuck to coaching clients who resided within that target market.
However, that is not to say that there were clients within that target market who I coached and who had personalities that I sometimes struggled with.
I always endeavour to be fair and to treat everyone with equal respect, but I really struggle with stubbornly closed-minded people.
I mean I REALLY struggle with people who are bigoted and who just do not take on board anything that is different to their pre-established beliefs.
It is a prejudice of my mine and it is one I struggle to get past.
You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves… and bigots never help themselves!
I had a couple of coaching clients who fell somewhat into this category and, as a result, I really struggle to coach them in a constructive fashion.
Also, with these particular clients, I knew from each of their first sessions that I would struggle to coach them, but I coached them anyway.
And that was a mistake.
It was an intellectually unwise and emotionally draining mistake.
I wouldn’t do it again.
If I was getting red flags about a client in their first session, I would just it by saying, “It’s been lovely to meet you, but I’m not the life coach for you.”
I would maintain an information management system
This just amounts to keeping better track of the administrative components of running Not Your Average Life Coach.
I should have had made an Microsoft Excel document with spreadsheets which kept track of how many clients I had, how many sessions I had given them, when I had them booked in for sessions, what I had charged them for each session, what their coaching requirements were, so on and so forth.
Had I maintained such a document, it would of made co-ordinating my time and my understanding of each client’s coaching requirements much simpler.
The problem with running Not Your average Life Coach on-the-fly around my other commitments is that I got into the habit of always running it like that and it just wasn’t a good long-term system.
… with my Side Hustle
I would put together a proper business plan AND marketing plan
If you’ve studied everything involved in starting a business and then intend to start a business yourself, putting together a plan for how you are going to run and market it is a no-brainer… and I still didn’t do it!
It would be unfair to say that I did not put any thinking to how I was going to market and run Not Your Average Life Coach, I was just to lazy to make the time the to organise all that thinking into a set of plans.
From this experience of starting and running my won side hustle over a couple of years, I have certainly learned much about the dos and don’ts of running a side hustle.
Furthermore, I have certainly laid the groundwork for building a thoroughly thought out set of marketing and business plans from all the conclusions I have collected together on these final project component pages.
I would rent coaching office space
Having a consistent base of operations and somewhere confidential and quiet where I could meet up with my clients would strengthen the overall effectiveness of the coaching process.
For the most part, it was great coaching out and about in public spaces, but there were times when it would have been beneficial to have had access to a private coaching space.
There are less distractions in a private space and it can be very therapeutic for the client to step back from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Additionally, having a private space would be very beneficial for me because it would give me somewhere quiet where I could reflect about my self-coaching and get other work done.
I would have an automated online booking system for clients to use
One of the most frustrating and time-wasting parts of running a life coaching side hustle was getting clients booked onto sessions and then collecting payment for those sessions.
Usually, it was just a mess of back-and-forth emails or text messages, which could take a fair bit of time up because replies were not always instant.
Later, some clients would want to reschedule or to cancel. Sometimes I would need to reschedule or cancel.
Collecting payment was done either by bank transfer or cash and this actually made it harder for me to keep track of what money I had coming in.
Ultimately, having such a time-wasting booking system was my fault because I never implemented a better way of doing things.
A better way to do it would be through an online booking database that my clients would be able to access on my website, using their own username and password after they had signed up to the database.
On this booking system, they would be able to see my weekly calendar and all the slots I had available for coaching.
They could also use this calendar to book their desired coaching date and time; as well as make a digital payment right there and then for their selection.
I did start to build this online booking system on the website, hence why a client is able to pay for sessions and then receive an email from me asking them to reply with their desired date and time… which I would then either confirm or negotiate an alternative.
Again, it was far from an ideal system.
The idea behind that booking system is that I would have later incorporated into a full-fledged client database booking system.
But I had already decided that I was going to give up coaching before this point, so I didn’t continue with the development of the database.
I definitely would implement this next time around because, not only would it solve the problem of having a time-wasting booking system, but it would also go some way to providing me with an information management system in which I could keep track of all my clients information.
… with the Website
I would come up with a better brand name
It turns out that ‘Not Your Average Life Coach’ is a name that gets used a lot with health and wellness professionals.
I don’t know if this is just a recent thing or if I didn’t research thoroughly enough when looking for a distinctive brand name for my coaching service.
I settled on Not Your Average Life Coach because it described me and stylistically worked as the website’s URL www.notyouraveragelife.coach
But to avoid brand confusion and to claim a brand name that I can wholly claim as my own, I definitely need to come up with different one.
Also, in hindsight, I would want to use a name that is shorter and certainly something that is not longer than three or four words.
Something like… ‘Just Be You Coaching’.
Although, again, that one is taken.
It only goes to show how hard it is to come up with a distinctive brand name in todays oversaturated health and wellness industry!
But I would definitely go with a completely different brand name a second time around.
I would get some photos and videos of my coaching sessions
I don’t have any photos or videos of my coaching sessions for two reasons…
- I was always very conscious of my clients’ confidentiality and privacy
- During the hectic rush of conducting my coaching sessions, it rarely ever occurred to me get any photos or videos taken
From a marketing perspective and for giving prospective clients an idea of what they can expect, having some in-session photos and a few videos to demonstrate my coaching style would be hugely invaluable.
I only came to this conclusion when I was putting together the component pages of this final project and realised I didn’t actually have any images or videos of my coaching to help visualise everything I have said.
Client confidentially is certainly an important principle to uphold, but I’m sure that with the permission of a few of my clients, they would allow me to feature some photos and videos on my website.
I’ve already included a few testimonials, so why not also some photos and videos.
I would get someone else to build the website
From outlining the site in 2019 to getting it fully built at the end of 2020, constructing NotYourAverageLife.Coach was a long and tedious process.
I had to build this site alongside its two sister sites, PeteBeCreative.com and IBuiltMyOwn.Education, and all three sites also had to be built around my other commitments.
More crucially, the sites took me a fair while to build because I hadn’t built websites like these before, so it was a hands-on learning process of constant trial and error.
It was definitely a good learning experience to because it has exercised the web development skills I was learning in my Multimedia Studies and Creative Technologies concentration.
But it was also a hugely costly resource where my time was concerned.
Granted, now that I am more experienced, I could easily speed up the website build process a second time around.
Even so, it would still be much more efficient for me to draw up a rough wireframe design and then hand that over to another web developer to turn into a fully functioning responsive website.
Financially, it would cost me a fair bit to get a new website built this way, but it would still be cheaper than the time it would cost me to build it on my own.